Dr. Childress: Cyberspace Office

I have entered cyberspace. 

Cyberspace Office: my online office is at doxy.me/drchildress

Dr. Childress: Cyberspace Office

Scheduling Calendar: I have an online Scheduling Calendar for scheduling consultation appointments with me:

Dr. Childress: Scheduling Calendar

Website Description:  I further describe my Cyberspace Office & Telepsychology practice on my website:

Dr. Childress Website: Cyberspace Office & Telepsychology

Encrypted Email:  I have encrypted email through Hushmail.com

Dr. Childress Secure Email: drchildress@hushmail.com

California Residents:  I am licensed as a psychologist in California, so there are no restrictions on my ability to practice with California residents through telepsychology.

Non-California Residents:  Jurisdictional limitations on licensure restrict my ability to provide online psychotherapy with non-California residents using a telepsychology platform.  I can, however, provide limited-scope professional consultation with non-California residents (I am limiting this consultation to two sessions).

Professional-to-Professional:  There are no restrictions on my ability to provide online consultation to other mental health professionals or legal professionals.

Online Mental Health Consultation

My consultation with other mental health professionals can occur separately through my Cyberspace Office or can occur directly in their session through my telepsychology platform (with the proper permissions and agreement of the involved parties).  There are two implications of this;

1.) Parent-initiated Consultation: The targeted parent can, with the prior permission of the therapist, bring me to an appointment with the involved mental health professional for direct telepsychology mediated consultation, or can schedule a separate appointment time with the therapist at the Cyberspace Office of Dr. Childress.  We can meet in their brick-and-mortar office or at mine in cyberspace, whichever is preferred.

2.) Therapist-Initiated Consultation: The therapist can request the direct in-session telepsychology consultation of Dr. Childress with the child or select clients, with the proper agreement of the involved parties.  Again, this can occur in their brick-and-mortar office or at mine in cyberspace, whichever is preferred (note: I do not meet with children at my Cyberspace Office only, my consultation that includes direct contact with the child must include a mental health professional in the room with the child).

MH Professional Cyber-Office Consultation

I can meet through my Cyberspace Office with the involved mental heath professional alone, or with the therapist and client.

Therapist Alone:  If desired, I can meet with just the therapist at my Cyberspace Office to consult on a case.

Therapist & Client:  If desired, I can meet with the therapist and up to three additional clients in my Cyberspace Office.

Direct In-Session Consultation: Parent Initiated

Parent-initiated direct in-session telepsychology consultation with the involved mental health professional requires the following steps:

1.)  Initial Consultation:  Schedule an online consultation appointment with Dr. Childress to provide background information on the surrounding circumstances and to obtain guidance on the possible professional-to-professional consultation involvement of Dr. Childress in your matter.

2.)  Permission: If professional-to-professional consultation appears indicated from the initial consultation, then the next step is to obtain the permission and agreement of the involved mental health professional for the in-session professional consultation.

3.)  Confirmation: Dr. Childress will then send an email to the involved mental health professional confirming my cyber-attendance and telepsychology consultation at the next session.

Direct In-Session Consultation: Therapist Initiated

A mental health professional can schedule a direct in-session consultation with Dr. Childress with the proper permissions and agreements of the involved participants.

Therapist & Targeted Parent:  The direct telepsychology in-session participation and consultation of Dr. Childress can be with the therapist and targeted parent.  This would only require the consent of the targeted parent.

Therapist & Allied Parent:  The direct telepsychology in-session participation and consultation of Dr. Childress can be with the therapist and allied parent.  This would only require the consent of the allied parent.

Therapist & Child:  The direct telepsychology in-session participation and consultation of Dr. Childress can be with the therapist and child. This direct in-session telepsychology consultation with the involved mental health professional would require the consent of both the targeted parent and allied parent (each consenting for the child’s participation).

Therapist & Targeted Parent & Child:  The direct in-session participation and consultation of Dr. Childress can be with the involved therapist, the targeted parent, and child.  This direct in-session telepsychology consultation with the involved mental health professional would require the consent of both the targeted parent and allied parent (each consenting for the child’s participation).

Exceptions to Consent:

Exception 1:  If one parent has been given court-ordered sole authorization to consent for the child’s treatment, then the child’s participation in a direct in-session telepsychology consultation with the involved mental health professional and Dr. Childress would only require the consent of this authorized parent.

Exception 2:  If the court orders the direct in-session telepsychology consultation participation of Dr. Childress, then court orders supersede parental consent.

Standard 3.09 Cooperation with Other Professionals

The relevant Standard from the APA ethics code governing professional-to-professional consultation is Standard 3.09 Cooperation with Other Professionals.

Standard 3.09 Cooperation with Other Professionals
When indicated and professionally appropriate, psychologists cooperate with other professionals in order to serve their clients/patients effectively and appropriately.

Court-Ordered Professional-to-Professional Consultation

If the court desires, the court can order the involved mental health professionals to consult with Dr. Childress through telepsychology.  The court may order that the telepsychology consultation only be with the involved mental health professionals, or the court order can include additional family members dependent upon the court’s wishes.

Court orders regarding the telepsychology consultation of Dr. Childress should be sent to Dr. Childress by secure email (drchildress@hushmail.com) when the consultation appointment is scheduled.

Consultation with Legal Professionals

If attorneys wish to consult with Dr. Childress on any matter, they can schedule a consultation appointment through the Scheduling Calendar.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

Limbic System: Robert Sapolsky Stanford Lecutures

Robert Sapolsky is a valuable resource of knowledge.  He has a set of Stanford University  lectures on YouTube regarding various aspects of his field, taught from his undergraduate course at Stanford University in 2010,

It’s free, it’s available on YouTube, search on Dr. Sapolsky’s Stanford Lectures:

YouTube: Robert Saposky Stanford University Lectures

All mental health professionals working with court-involved family conflict must watch Robert Sapolsky’s Stanford lecture on the limbic system.  It is free, it is available, it is your introduction to the limbic system.

YouTube: Dr. Sapolsky Stanford Lectures: Limbic System

Attend to statements about the amygdala, frontal cortex, and anterior cingulate.  Attend to the James-Lange theory of emotion, and the role of interpretation and attribution for a bodily state.

Dr. Sapolsky’s lecture on the Limbic System is mandatory.  From this point on, I will assume that all court-involved mental health professionals will be familiar with all of the material discussed by Dr. Sapolsky in this lecture.  The remainder of his 2010 course at Stanford University on YouTube is “optional” – a post-doc of mine would watch the entire course, knowledge is a good thing when working with children.

Child Development Knowledge

Mental health professionals working with complex family conflict surrounding divorce must understand child development.  In 2020 this is substantially more than Erickson’s stages of basic trust vs basic mistrust, industry vs inferiority, from the 1940s.  Since 1990, understanding child development means understanding the neuro-social development of the brain during childhood,

They are inseparable.  Childhood is the period of brain maturation.  To understand childhood, and importantly, the different phases of childhood and the different socio-neurological developmental tasks-challenges for that period, requires – requires – an understanding for the neuro-development of the brain in childhood across different developmental levels.

If the mental health professional does not want to learn the neuro-development of the brain during childhood, that’s fine – just don’t work with children.  Work with adults.  Because since the 1990s, child development has required a professional understanding of the neuro-development of the child.

This is not optional knowledge – knowledge of child development when working with children – it is required knowledge.

Robert Sapolsky’s Standford University course lectures on YouTube are an exceptionally good introduction.  Of central importance is information about the limbic system (emotional system), which includes essential information on a cortical portion of the limbic system, the prefrontal cortex and the executive function systems.

Professional Ignorance

I am only assigning you Dr. Sapolsky’s Stanford lecture on the Limbic System.  I do that with post-docs, I “assign” some material, and I “recommend” other material, the difference being direct relevance and indirectly important.

You should watch them all.  You will only be using the knowledge about the limbic system when you reach the material from Stern, Shore, Tronick, Trevarthan, van der Kolk – and others – attend also to the Polyvagal Theory and Porges.

Notice something important at the start of Dr. Sapolsky’s Limbic System lecture.  It is a week before the midterm and the material about the limbic system is not going to be on the midterm.  Dr. Sapolsky nonchalantly comments on a number of empty seats.

There are two types of humans, and they are reflected in the students’ decisions.  One group, “Is this going to be on the midterm?” and if not, then they disregard the knowledge that they will need as professionals, because it is not directly relevant to their task at the moment, passing the midterm exam.

This failure in frontal lobe systems surrounding time projection, called foresight and planning, indicates unresolved traumas in other regions of the prefrontal cortex and limbic system that is inhibiting full activation of frontal lobe executive function systems – or – developmentally appropriate maturational processes during the 18-to-24 period. 

The students that skipped the class did not have the frontal lobe capability “to do the hard thing” (attend class) “when it is the right thing to do” (learn knowledge).  The students came to Stanford University, a top-tier educational institution, to learn.  Yet they do not attend class because the material is “not on the midterm.” 

A very “now” orientation to their motivation.  Is this going to help me… now?  The frontal lobe systems for foresight and the inhibition of other competing limic systems activity driving motivation has not yet fully developed.  That’s relatively normal for that age period.  The frontal lobe does not complete its maturation until age 25.

Other students attended. Even though they weren’t going to be “tested” on the information, they came to learn the information.  They understand the value of the information, that’s what they came to Stanford University for, the knowledge. They want this knowledge because it then serves as a foundation for the next set of knowledge, and they will need this next set of knowledge for the tasks they will undertake professionally. 

Do you see the difference between a limic brain of motivation that’s oriented toward the now, and the executive function systems of the prefrontal cortex that inhibit limic activity to allow us to “do the hard thing, when it’s the right thing to do.”

Ignorance is Not Acceptable with Children

To my professional colleagues, you are working with children. Their lives are in your hands. Your ignorance can destroy their life trajectories, or it can fulfill and enrich the entire future course of their lives, and the lives of their spouses and children.  Their future is in your hands – in your ignorance or your knowledge.

What reason do you have for ignorance and sloth?  Is any level of ignorance and sloth acceptable when working with the lives of children?

The court also holds the lives of these parents and their children in the balance of its decisions, lives will be changed, potentially destroyed or saved, by the court’s decision.  The court is seeking consultation from professional psychology for recommendations supporting the child’s healthy development – the “best interests of the child.”

The court is coming to you.  You hold the lives of these children and the lives of these parents in your hands, in the difference between your ignorance and knowledge.

The Limbic System is on my midterm, the midterm of Dr. Childress for professional competence in working with children, especially emotionally dysregulated children – that’s the limbic-prefrontal cortex network.  You will need this information for the information on intersubjectivity, attunement, emotional regulation, and complex trauma that will follow next. That is the information you need to know; Stern, Tronick, Trevarthan, van der Kolk, Fonagy, Shore, Lyons-Ruth, and others.

The rest of Sapolsky’s Standford University lectures are not on the midterm of Dr. Childress.  Bear in mind that I already know the material.  I watched them anyway, and I learned more.  Because ignorance is never acceptable when working with children.

What’s your excuse for your ignorance?  Is understanding child development not important to working with children?  Is understanding the neuro-development of the brain too difficult? 

Then you are ignorant of child development, and you need to go away and not work with children, or you should follow the instructions of people who are not ignorant and who do understand child development – including the neuro-social development of the brain across its various phases and processes.

Do you understand intersubjectivty?  “What’s that?” you say.  I know.  You don’t know what that is, do you?  You don’t know what you’re doing, do you?… I know.  That’s a problem.

Do you understand the roles of attunement and misattunement in the joint construction of meaning?  Do you understand the processes of affect regulation and dysregulation, and its treatment?  Do you understand the neuro-social processes of identity formation and stabilization within the variations across the developmental stages of childhood? 

If not, then I cannot even have a professional-level discussion with you.  You are too ignorant (lacking knowledge or information).

You do not understand child development, the scientific research on child development… you don’t know any of it.  That’s a serious problem if you are working with children whose lives hang in the balance of your knowledge or ignorance… because you’re ignorant.

Dr. Sapolsky’s class is an undergraduate course.  You are not even at the level of an undergraduate student if I cannot discuss the role of the limbic brain, particularly and especially the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and the vagus nerve of the autonomic nervous system.

I have to first educate you in order to have a professional-level discussion with you. That’s not okay.  I shouldn’t have to educate you, you should already be educated before – before – you start to work with children.

Start with van der Kolk’s two day course-seminar from PESI in trauma and complex trauma.  As a preliminary assignment, watch Sapolsky’s Stanford University lecture on the Limbic System.  Google Polyvagal Theory; Porges.   You will ultimately be headed toward Tronick and Stern (intersubjectivity), this will include Trevarthan and Fonagy.

Oh… know Bowlby.  Read all three volumes on attachment, know Lyons-Ruth, buy and know the Handbook on Attachment.

I would consider all of this an assignment for a post-doc.  If you do not know this information, you are not ready to begin work with children… you are not ready to even – begin – not even begin – your work with children if you do not know this information about child development.  You are ignorant, which means you will be incompetent.

If you were my post-doc and didn’t know this information, I would not let you have patient contact until you knew this information.  Not only would I be supervising your work because you’re still in training, I wouldn’t even let you work with child patients until you knew this information.

Google ignorance: lack of knowledge or information

Do you know Sapolsky and van der Kolk?  Cicchetti and Lyons-Ruth?  Stern and Tronick?  Then you lack knowledge or information, you are ignorant.

Ignorance solves nothing. Ignorance is unacceptable professional practice when you hold the lives of children in the balance of your knowledge and ignorance.

Google incompetence: inability to do something successfully; ineptitude.

Can you resolve interpersonal conflict?  Then do it.  You can’t, can you.

You can’t do it because you lack knowledge about how to do it, about how to resolve conflict.  You are ignorant.  And because of your ignorance, you are unable to solve the parent-child conflict, you are unsuccessful, you are incompetent.

Google sloth: reluctance to work or make an effort; laziness.

Have you watched Sapolsky’s Stanford University lecture on the limic system, available for free on YouTube?  Have you watched all of Dr. Sapolsky’s Standford University course lectures?  Have you taken Bessel van der Kolk’s two-day course from PESI on trauma and complex trauma?  Or are you reluctant to work and make an effort? Are you lazy and slothful?

Google negligence: failure to take proper care in doing something; (law) failure to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another.

Did you use proper care?  Or are you ignorant, incompetent, and slothful?  Did your ignorance, incompetence, and professional sloth result in injury to the parent, harm and damage to the child?

Do any of those words apply to you?  Ignorance, incompetence, sloth, or negligence?

Do you lack information and knowledge, are you unable to solve the family conflict because you lack knowledge and information about how to do that, and do you fail to know this knowledge and information because you are reluctant to make an effort, you’re lazy, and then this causes harm, causes injury to the child and the parent, because you failed to take proper care in first learning about child development and parent-child conflict and bonding – before – you started to work with children.

None of those words apply to me.  I work with children.  None of those words apply to me.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

Complex Trauma & Bessel van der Kolk

Professional practice with court-involved family conflict surrounding divorce requires competence in five domains of professional psychology:

  • Attachment
  • Family systems therapy
  • Personality Disorders
  • Complex trauma
  • Neurodevelopment in childhood

Leading figures in each of these domains would be:

John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth: attachment

Salvador Minuchin, Murray Bowen: family systems therapy

Aaron Beck, Otto Kernberg, Theodore Millon, Marsha Linehan: personality disorders

Bessel van der Kolk: complex trauma

Edward Tronick, Daniel Stern: neurodevelopment of the brain

Trauma & Complex Trauma

Professional competence in the educational curriculium for trauma and complex trauma can be gained, and demonstrated on the vitae, through the PESI 2-day Continuing Education course from Bessel van der Kolk:

Bessel van der Kolk: The Body Keeps Score

It is my strong professional recommendation that all mental health professionals working with court-involved family conflict take this Continuing Education course from PESI to acquire and demonstrate current educational curriculum knowledge regarding trauma and complex trauma.

This two-day course from Bessel van der Kolk would not satisfy practice requirements as a trauma therapist, but would be sufficient for court-involved family conflict mental health professionals. Of note is that PESI offers a separate 75 hour Certificate Program in Traumatic Stress Studies.

Also of note regarding additional information, training, and competency in trauma and complex trauma is the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

 

 

AFCC: Class Action Exposure?

The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC),is the professional organization for forensic psychologists and family law attorneys.  The AFCC specifically instructs child custody evaluators NOT to diagnose pathology.

The AFCC has published an instruction guide for child custody evaluations, the Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluations.

With this document, the AFCC has put their seal of approval, their imprimatur, on the practice of child custody evaluations.  I believe that is significant, because I wonder what sort of legal liability that establishes for the AFCC regarding the assessment procedure of child custody evaluation.

I’m not a lawyer, but as a psychologist I’d be worried if I were on the Board of Directors for the AFCC about the potential legal liability exposure this “Model Standards of Practice” creates for our organization.  If we’re telling people how to do it, and providing our professional credibility, name and status to the activity, then to what extent do we also incur legal liability responsibility for endorsing and recommending the practice?

If I’m on the Board of Directors as a clinical psychologist, I’m going to want our attorneys to offer an opinion on that, and I’ll want our attorneys to review our “Model Standards of Practice” with an eye toward legal liability exposure before we publish them and provide our organization’s imprimatur of support for the practice.

And, on the other hand, if I’m considering a class action lawsuit against the practice of child custody evaluations for essentially being a fraudulent financial racket (I’m not a lawyer, but if I were, I’d seriously look at a Rico violation with the AFCC as the organizing syndicate and the child custody evaluators as the capos), I’d be looking at linking the AFCC to the lawsuit specifically on this document, their Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluations.

Seems to me… they took ownership of the practice of child custody evaluations with that document.

Principle D Justice

The first problem the AFCC faces is that the practice of child custody evaluations is a foundational violation of Principle D Justice of the American Psychological Association ethics code.  Child custody evaluations, as a practice, are in violation of a foundational Principle of ethical practice, Justice, on two separate and independent counts.

Principle D: Justice
Psychologists recognize that fairness and justice entitle all persons to access to and benefit from the contributions of psychology and to equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services being conducted by psychologists.  Psychologists exercise reasonable judgment and take precautions to ensure that their potential biases, the boundaries of their competence, and the limitations of their expertise do not lead to or condone unjust practices.

Let’s begin to apply this Principle of professional ethics to the practice of child custody evaluations…

“fairness and justice entitle all persons to access to and benefit from …”

A typical child custody procedure costs between $20,000 to $40,000 for each evaluation. That financial cost places the practice of child custody evaluation beyond the affordability of all but the most affluent of families.  Since lower-income families are offered no alternative, they must turn to substandard assessments conducted by less qualified, and often unqualified, professionals because the more qualified professionals and assessments are cost-prohibitive.

The most expensive clinical psychology assessment for the most complicated child pathology (e.g., trauma with autism-spectrum and ADHD features, learning disabilities, involving prenatal exposure to drugs, foster care placement, and current behavioral problems) would cost around $5,000 and take between four to six weeks to complete, with a report, for a high-end comprehensive assessment.  A typical clinical psychology assessment for most pathologies costs about $2,500.

That forensic psychology cannot develop an assessment protocol for their “high-conflict divorce” pathology for less than $20,000 to $40,000 strains credulity, and raises prominent professional concerns about their exploitation of a vulnerable population, the class of parents in family court litigation surrounding child custody and visitation schedules.

Forensic psychology claims this population as their exclusive property, prohibiting any recommendation for child custody visitation schedules being offered by clinical psychologists based on any criteria OTHER than the conduct of their $20,000 to $40,000 child custody evaluation procedure.

As a treating clinical psychologist with full, direct, and ongoing knowledge of the pathology in the family, I can form a professional opinion on the relative benefits of different custody visitation schedules… I just can’t tell the court my opinion.  I am prohibited from telling the court my opinion unless I’ve conducted one of their $20,000 to $40,000 child custody evaluations.  Then I can tell the court my opinion.

Parents who cannot afford the excessive and obscene cost of a child custody evaluation are denied “access to and benefit from” quality professional input into their family litigation and the court’s decision-making.  That is a fundamental violation of Principle D… “fairness and justice entitle all persons to access to and benefit from …”, less affluent families are being denied “access to and benefit from ” the input of professional psychology.

The practice of child custody evaluations, endorsed with guidelines from the AFCC, is foundationally in violation of Principle D Justice of the APA ethics code for denying “access to and benefit from” quality professional input into their court-involved family conflict because the excessive and prohibitive financial cost of their immensely bloated and ill-conceived assessment procedures.

“fairness and justice entitle all persons to… equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services being conducted by psychologists.”

There is no inter-rater reliability to child custody evaluations.  This means that child cusody evaluations are not a valid assessment of anything, they are just the opinion of one person, the evaluator, based on no supported foundations.

The absence of inter-rater reliability means that different evaluators can reach entirely different conclusions and recommendations based on exactly the same family information and data.  Families are therefore denied “equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services” by the absence of inter-rater reliability to the procedure.

Two of the prominent experts in forensic psychology, Stahl and Simon, who literally wrote the book on child custody evaluations, published by the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association, acknowledge the high degree of variability in the quality of “services” delivered by child custody evaluators.

From Stahl & Simons: “The American Board of Forensic Psychology is a subspecialty board of the ABPP. In the fall of 2011, there were approximately 250-300 ABPP board certified forensic psychologists in the United States and an unknown number of psychologists who specialize in forensic work but are not board certified.  On top of that, there are many psychologists who dabble in forensic practice, occasionally performing child custody or other types of forensic evaluations, and who find themselves called to testify in court on occasion.  While we recognize that there is a range of quality in their work, it is clear that forensic psychology is a growing area of specialization.” (Stahl & Simons, 2013, p. 9)

Stahl, P.M. and Simon, R.A. (2013). Forensic Psychology Consultation in Child Custody Litigation: A Handbook for Work Product Review, Case Preparation, and Expert Testimony, Chicago, IL: Section of Family Law of the American Bar Association

The procedure of child custody evaluations violates Principle D Justice of the APA ethics code by failing to provide “equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services being conducted by psychologists.”  This is an openly acknowledge fact (“we recognize that there is a range of quality in their work”; Stahl & Simon, 2013).

To the extent that the AFCC issues Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluations they are providing recommended “Standards of Practice” for an unethical procedure.

Avoiding Diagnosis

Diagnosis is considered professional standard of practice in all cases.  Diagnosis guides treatment.  The treatment for cancer is different than the treatment for diabetes.  In order to develop a treatment plan and recommendations (any recommendations), we must first know what the pathology is, what’s the diagnosis?

The treatment for cancer is different than the treatment for diabetes.  Diagnosis guides treatment.

How can we possibly know what to do about a problem, until we first identify what that problem is.  The term “identify” is the common-language word for the professional term “diagnosis.”  We must first identify what the problem is in order to know how to fix it; we must first diagnose what the problem is in order to know how to treat it.

identify = diagnosis

fix = treatment

It is professional standard of practice to first diagnose (identify) the pathology before offering any recommendations about what to do.  If we don’t know what the problem is, if we haven’t identified (diagnosed) what the problem is, how can we possibly know what to do about it?

Failure to first diagnose (identify) what the pathology is prior to making recommendations about how to fix it (treatment or remedy) would be a violation of Standard 9.01a of the APA ethics code requiring that;

Standard 9.01a 9.01 Bases for Assessments
(a) Psychologists base the opinions contained in their recommendations, reports, and diagnostic or evaluative statements, including forensic testimony, on information and techniques sufficient to substantiate their findings. (See also Standard 2.04, Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments.)

If the assessing evaluator has NOT even identified what the problem is (diagnosis), then the recommendations contained in their “reports, and diagnostic or evaluative statements, including forensic testimony” are not based on information “sufficient to substantiate their findings” because they don’t even know what the pathology is – they have not yet even identified – diagnosed – what the problem is.

In addition, the Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluations from the AFCC specifically instruct child custody evaluators to AVOID making a diagnosis.

4.6 Presentation of Findings and Opinions
(c) Evaluators recognize that the use of diagnostic labels can divert attention from the focus of the evaluation (namely, the functional abilities of the litigants whose disputes are before the court) and that such labels are often more prejudicial than probative.

While not directly prohibiting child custody evaluators from identifying what the pathology is (the “diagnostic label”) prior to offering recommendations to the court, the clear indication from the AFCC is that identifying pathology (the “diagnostic label”) is “often more prejudicial than probative” and should be avoided, because it “diverts attention” from the true focus of the assessment, which must be something other than identifying what the problem is and offering recommendations on how to solve it.

Diagnosis guides treatment.  We do not know what to do about a problem until we first identify (diagnose) what that problem is.  The treatment for cancer is different than the treatment for diabetes.

In addition to the deeply troubling prominent encouragement from the AFCC to avoid diagnosing pathology before making recommendations to the court, is the further troubling assertion from the AFCC that child custody evaluators should strive to influence the court’s decision-making by withholding from the court information about pathology that the custody evaluator thinks might be “prejudicial” to the case of the pathological parent.

The AFCC is recommending that the child custody evaluator preempts  the court’s authority to assess the relative value of a “diagnostic label” (identifying what the problem is), and that the child custody evaluator should instead independently weigh the relative “prejudicial” and “probative” value of disclosing to the court the identifying name for the pathology in a family, apparently to influence the court’s decision in favor of the pathological parent by withholding diagnostic information from the court’s consideration.

It is a deeply troubling role for a child custody evaluator to be making preemptive decisions on the relative prejudicial and probative value of diagnostic information in order to then withhold information from the court’s consideration that will influence the court’s decision in favor of a pathological parent, based solely on a decision made by the custody evaluator regarding the relative prejudicial and probative value of the information.

Not only is this diagnostic information withheld from the court’s consideration, it is also not disclosed to the parties.  This violates the rights of the non-pathological parent to present evidence to the court because the relevant evidence is being arbitrarily withheld from disclosure to the parent by the child custody evaluator, based on instructions made to the evaluator from the AFCC in their Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluations, Standard 4.6(c).

In issuing Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluations, to what degree has the AFCC assumed legal liability for the practice of child custody evaluations?

Principle D Justice
“Psychologists… take precautions to ensure that their potential biases, the boundaries of their competence, and the limitations of their expertise do not lead to or condone unjust practices.”

How?

How have child custody evaluators taken “precautions” to limit their “potential biases“?  What specific precautions in the child custody interview process has that child custody evaluator taken to limit the “potential biases” of the evaluator?

The mother in the case reminds the evaluator of his ex-wife, the tone of her voice, what she says.  She’s really irritating.  The custody evaluator doesn’t agree with the cultural parenting practices and values of one of the parents, he just doesn’t think that’s the right way to parent.

What precautions did that child custody evaluator take in that evaluation to limit the potential biases – many of them unconscious biases (the evaluator may have mommy-issues or daddy-issues, may have been sexually abused as a child and harbor unconscious anger toward “abusive men”).

What type of “precautions” are taken?  None.

Child custody evaluations take NO precautions to limit “potential bias.”

What “precautions” did the custody evaluator take to ensure boundaries of competence?

This is an attachment pathology, a child rejecting a parent.  Where on the custody evaluator’s vitae does it demonstrate background training and experience in assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment pathology?

This is a family conflict pathology.  Where on the custody evaluator’s vitae does it demonstrate background training and experience in family systems therapy.  Or do they assert that family systems therapy, one of the four primary schools of therapy and the only one dealing with families… is not relevant to boundaries of competence.

Do they believe that knowing about families and how families function is not required knowledge for assessing, diagnosing, and treating family conflict pathology?

How has the custody evaluator taken “precautions” to ensure their boundaries of competence?  What precautions?

“…do not lead to or condone unjust practices.”

Do you mean like denying people “equal access to and benefit from the contributions of psychology and to equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services being conducted by psychologists”? 

That type of “unjust practice”?

In issuing Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluations, and placing their professional endorsement and imprimatur of credibility onto the practice of child custody evaluations, to what degree has the AFCC incurred legal liability relative to the practice of child custody evaluations in forensic psychology?

I don’t know, I’m not a lawyer.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

 

Specialized Expertise

I tell everyone I’m not an “expert” – and that’s true. I’m just a clinical psychologist. I apply knowledge, I don’t create it. I would consider experts to be John Bowlby and Salvador Minuchin, Aaron Beck and Murray Bowen, Marsha Linehan for personality disorders.

I’m just a clinical psychologist. I’m an excellent clinical psychologist, but I’m just a clinical psychologist. I apply knowledge to solve pathology.

But in the court system, I’m an expert. I am in the role of providing the court with applied information from professional psychology to assist in the court’s decision-making.

I’m currently in discussions with an attorney about my possible role in the matter.  He wants me either to do the assessment personally (if the court will order the allied parent and child’s participation in my assessment), or the attorney wants my involvement as a consultant to an assessment performed by someone else because of my “specialized” expertise.

And I do have specialized expertise surrounding this pathology, in four pretty special domains.  I’m going to note them and the vitae citations to this specialized expertise.

1) Trauma and child abuse:

I served as the Clinical Director for a three-university collaboration in treating children ages 0-5 in the foster care system. I have assessed, diagnosed, and treated child abuse and trauma up close and personal, and I was responsible for leading the multi-disciplinary treatment team for these abused and traumatized children in foster care.

10/06 – 6/08:  Clinical Director
START Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Assessment and Treatment Center
California State University, San Bernardino
Institute of Child Development and Family Relations

2) Attachment pathology:

This vitae citation as Clinical Director for the children’s Assessment and Treatment center also establishes my background with attachment pathology, along with additional trainings in attachment-related diagnostic models and treatment interventions.

Certificate Program: Parent-Infant Mental Health: Fielding Graduate University, 1/14/08; 1/15/08.

Early Childhood Diagnostic System: DC:0-3R Diagnostic Criteria: Orange County Early Childhood Mental Health Collaborative.

Early Childhood Diagnostic System: DMIC: Diagnostic Manual for Infancy and Early Childhood. Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders: assessment, diagnosis, and intervention for developmental and emotional disorders, autistic spectrum disorders, multisystem developmental disorders, regulatory disorders involving attention, learning and behavioral problems, cognitive, language, motor, and sensory disturbances.

Early Childhood Treatment Intervention: Watch, Wait, and Wonder: Nancy Cohen, Ph.D. Hincks-Dellcrest Centre & the University of Toronto.

Early Childhood Treatment Intervention: Circle of Security: Glen Cooper, MFT, Center for Clinical Intervention, Marycliff Institute, Spokane, Washington.

10/06 – 6/08: Clinical Director
START Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Assessment and Treatment Center
California State University, San Bernardino
Institute of Child Development and Family Relations

3) Shared delusional pathology:

I have over 12 years of experience assessing and rating delusional-psychotic pathology from my time as a Research Associate with an NIMH-funded longitudinal research project at UCLA on schizophrenia.

9/85 – 9/98 Research Associate
UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute
Principle Investigator: Keith Nuechterlein, Ph.D.
Area: Longitudinal study of initial-onset schizophrenia

4) Munchausen by proxy:

The pathology traditionally called “Muchausen by proxy” is a DSM-5 diagnosis of Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another. This is a pathology that is nearly always confined to children’s medical centers, primarily Children’s Hospitals, as the child-patient continues to rise in the level of treatment care provided through the course of unresolved medical pathology (from the Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another).

I was trained as a pediatric psychologist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), including training in Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another (Munchausen by proxy), and I was on medical staff as a pediatric psychologist at Children’s Hospital of Orange County  (Choc).  I am expert in the assessment and diagnosis of Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another (for example, a parent imposing a delusional pathology on the child for secondary gain).

4/02 – 10/06: Pediatric Psychologist
Children’s Hospital Orange County – UCI Child Development Center

9/00 – 4/02 Postdoctoral Fellow
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

9/99 – 9/00 Predoctoral Psychology Intern – APA Accredited
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Note that these are all work-experience vitae support for professional competence, not “Presentations Given” or attended.  I suspect there is not another clinical psychologist on the planet with this particular combination of directly relevant high-level professional work-experience, expertise in 1) complex trauma and child abuse, 2) attachment pathology, 3) delusional-psychotic pathology, and 4) Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another (Munchausen by proxy).

Plus, I am a family systems therapist familiar with all schools; Structural, Strategic, Bowenian, Millan, Contextual, Family of Origin, including post-modern narrative and solution-focused therapies.

Court-Orders for Consultation

The consideration offered in argument to the court is to allow me to consult with the assessing mental health professional surrounding the referral question:

Referral Question: “Which parent is the source of pathogenic parenting practices creating the child’s attachment pathology, and what are the treatment implications?”

My consultation support is necessary because of my specialized professional expertise in specialized areas of professional practice, each domain of specialized exertise supported by direct vitae work for a set of specifically relevant domains of pathology.

Work experience vitae support.

In addition, there is substantial vitae support for my involvement with court-involved family conflict and pathology (“parental alienation” and an attachment-based reformulation based in established knowledge).  Vitae support is provided by the first page of my vitae and from my publications regarding court-involved child and family pathology.

I am likely to be the best trained and most capable clinical psychologist on the planet to be assessing, diagnosing, and treating this complex court-involved family pathology surrounding divorce because of my specialized work experience expertise in multiple domains of highly specialized and directly relevant pathologies.

  • Trauma and child abuse.
  • Attachment pathology.
  • Delusional-psychotic pathology.
  • Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another.
  • Family systems therapy.
  • Court-involved family conflict.

I don’t anticipate that you will find anyone with a stronger work-experience expertise in the multiple domains of knowledge needed for professional practice with this pathology.

Moving forward, if someone wants the highest caliber possible of clinical psychology assessment of the pathology, that would be me.  However, it is not practical to take me from my private practice in Southern California for a week to conduct a trauma-informed clinical psychology assessment of this pathology.

Instead, a more reasonable use of my specialized professional expertise is through professional-to-professional consultation with the local-area assessing mental health professional, to provide for my additional specialized expertise and support to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment recommendations.

As we move forward, it might be helpful for parents and their attorneys to request this consultation support from Dr. Childress in their requests for court orders surrounding assessment, that Dr. Childress be allowed to consult directly with the assessing mental health professional as needed.

I believe the argument for my involvement is sound, I believe my consultation support to the involved mental health professional will be valuable to developing solutions for the family and the court, and I believe this represents the most cost-efficient access to my specialized professional knowledge and expertise.

In the world of clinical psychology, I’m just a clinical psychologist, I assess, diagnose, and treat pathology.  In the world of court-involved clinical psychology, I have specialized professional expertise in multiple specialized domains of pathology that are useful and valuable for the court’s consideration.

We do not know how the court will rule regarding my consultation involvement with the assessing mental health professional in this pending matter.  If the opposing party wishes to engage their own consulting psychologist, that would be fine; one assessing psychologist and two consulting, one for each party.

In professional practice, that’s called a ”second opinion.”  That’s fine.

My court-allowed involvement as a consulting clinical psychologist for attachment-related family conflict may offer a valuable approach to my assisting in the assessment and resolution of complex family conflict surrounding divorce.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

Standard 9.01a Assessment

You have rights, codified by the American Psychological Association code of ethics.  Let’s talk about Standard 9.01a Bases for Assessments.

9.01 Bases for Assessments
(a) Psychologists base the opinions contained in their recommendations, reports, and diagnostic or evaluative statements, including forensic testimony, on information and techniques sufficient to substantiate their findings. (See also Standard 2.04, Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments.)


The APA ethics code is mandatory for all psychologists and violations to the APA ethics code are subject to sanctions from the state licensing board.

Violations to the APA ethics code mean, by definition, that you are an unethical psychologist.  When unethical professional practice results in harm to the patient, that is especially bad.

That’s why the APA ethics code has two Standards, 1.04 and 1.05, mandating my response as a clinical psychologist when I learn of potential ethical violations by other psychologists.  Violations to ethical practice are serious, they harm people.  When they result in substantial harm to the client, they are egregiously serious.

Standard 9.01 Bases for Assessment defines requirements for assessment.  Let’s examine Standard 9.01a more closely.  It states:

9.01 Bases for Assessments
(a) Psychologists base the opinions contained in their recommendations, reports, and diagnostic or evaluative statements, including forensic testimony, on information and techniques sufficient to substantiate their findings. (See also Standard 2.04, Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments.)

1.)  Scope 

The first thing to note is that Standard 9.01a specifically references Standard 2.04 requiring the application of the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” (that would be the DSM-5, ICD-10, Bowlby (attachment), Minuchin (family systems therapy), Beck (personality disorders), van der Kolk (complex trauma), and Tronick (neuro-development of the brain in childhood)

Second, Standard 9.01a specifically mentions “recommendations” (such as custody recommendations and treatment recommendations), “reports” (such as custody evaluations and treatment reports), “and diagnostic or evaluative statements” – diagnosis is identifying pathology, evaluation is any sort of assessment – “including forensic testimony.”

“… including forensic testimony” – This standard covers the entire scope of professional assessment in all aspects – recommendations, reports, testimony, diagnosis.

2.)  Requirements

Now… recognize what is required: “Psychologists base their opinions on… “information and techniques sufficient to substantiate their findings” – then it specifically references Standard 2.04.

“…sufficient to substantiate their findings.”

Did the psychologist assess for IPV spousal abuse of the ex-spouse-targeted parent using the child as the weapon?

No.

Did the psychologist assess for a DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse (pathogenic parenting creating pathology in the child)?

No.

Did the psychologist assess for a shared persecutory delusion between the child and the allied parent?

No.

Did the psychologist assess for a cross-generational coalition or multi-generational trauma in the family (Minuchin, Bowen; family systems therapy)?

No.

Then that assessment is not based on “information” “sufficient to substantiate their findings” because of their violation to Standard 2.04, referenced directly in Standard 9.01a.

3.) Cross-Examination

My recommended cross-examination of any mental health testimony offering “recommendations” and any “diagnostic or evaluative statements” is to ask the following series of questions:

Did you assess for IPV spousal abuse of the targeted parent using the child as the weapon?  How?  What were the findings?

Did you assess for a persecutory delusion in the child, that is also shared by the allied parent relative to the targeted parent, an encapsulated shared persecutory delusion?  How?  What were the findings?

Did you assess for a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse from the child’s imposed and coerced role as a regulatory object for the allied parent?  How?  What were the findings?

Did you assess for a cross-generational coalition between the child and the allied parent?  How?  What were the findings?

Did you assess for multi-generational transmission of trauma creating an emotional cutoff in the parent-child bond (Bowen; Titelman)?  How?  What were the findings?

For good measure, I’d throw in a couple of lines at this point on family systems therapy:

Who is Murray Bowen?  Have you read his book, Family Evaluation?  Do you believe it is important to understand the functioning of families when assessing family conflict?  What is a triangle?  What is an emotional cutoff?  What is multi-generational trauma?  Are an emotional cutoff and multi-generational trauma linked?  How does the transmission of multi-generational trauma cause an emotional cutoff in the child’s relationship to a parent? (boundary violations from unresolved parental anxiety).  Is that what’s called an “enmeshed relationship”? (yes).

Who is Salvador Minuchin? (may I approach?) This is a Structural family diagram from Salvador Minuchin depicting a form of family pathology.  Are youSlide1 familiar with this diagram from Salvador Minuchin?  Can you please explain this diagram for us?  Are those three lines in Minuchin’s diagram what you were talking about regarding boundary violations and an enmeshed relationship with the parent and child? (yes).  Are those broken lines, those gaps, between the mother and father and mother and son, are those the emotional cutoffs caused by the over-close enmeshed relationship between the allied parent and child? (yes).

This line of questioning speaks to the requirement: “information… sufficient to substantiate their findings” as required – required – by Standard 9.01a for all of their reports, evaluative or diagnostic statements, and testimony.

4.) Violation of Standard 9.01a

“Psychologists base the opinions contained in their…” 

If they base their opinions on “information” that is NOTsufficient to substantiate their findings” (with a specific reference to Standard 2.04 requiring application of the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” – and this violation to Standard 9.01a causes harm to the client – to either parent or to the child – then this is an ADDITIONAL violation, an egregious violation, of Standard 3.04 Avoiding Harm.

It involves a cascading series of four ethical code violations beginning with a violation to Standard 2.04 requiring the application of the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline.”

The reason they failed to apply knowledge, is that they failed to know knowledge (vitae), a violation to Standard 2.01a, they were practicing beyond the “boundaries of their competence.” 

Their failure to both know and apply the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” (violations to Standards 2.01a: know, and 2.04: apply) lead to their violation of Standard 9.01a – their assessment was not based on “information” (Standard 2.04) “sufficient to substantiate their findings.”  This causes substantial harm to the client (untreated IPV spousal abuse, untreated DSM-5 Child Psychological Abuse), a violation of Standard 3.04 Avoiding Harm.

5.) The Chain of Violations

Standards 2.04 – 2.01a – 9.01a – 3.04.  It is a causal link of professional failures from their professional ignorance and sloth.

Google ignorance: lack of knowledge or information.

Google sloth: reluctance to work or make an effort; laziness.

Google negligence: failure to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another.

Now add Standard 2.03:

2.03 Maintaining Competence
Psychologists undertake ongoing efforts to develop and maintain their competence.

The burden to develop (Standard 2.01a) and maintain (Standard 2.03) professional competence is on them.  It is not the client’s role to educate them, it is their obligation to ALREADY be educated and competent.

Violations to four requirements of the APA ethics code (five with Standard 2.03) represents unethical professional practice.  Unethical professional practice and their failure to know (Standard 2.01a) and apply (Standard 2.04) the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” represents a “failure to use reasonable care” that resulted in “damage or injury” to the person – harm, Standard 3.04, to their client.

6. Failure in their Duty to Protect

Their unethical professional practice also resulted in the failure of their duty to protect on two separate counts; 

1) IPV Spousal Abuse: failure to protect the targeted parent from IPV spousal abuse (using the child as the weapon, they didn’t even assess for IPV spousal abuse, which is a violation of Standard 9.01a);

2) Child Psychological Abuse: failure to protect the child from DSM-5 Child Psychological Abuse (a shared persecutory delusion created by the “primary case” of the allied parent), they didn’t even assess for it (a violation of Standard 9.01a.).

7. Standards 1.04 & 1.05

The annoying thing about truth is… it’s true.

I have obligations as a clinical psychologist mandated by Standards 1.04 and 1.05 of the APA ethics code when I “believe that there may have been an ethical violation by another psychologist.”

Part of my professional obligation as a clinical psychologist when I learn of potential “ethical violation by another psychologist” is to educate the consumer on their rights relative to the APA ethics code and potential licensing board oversight and remedy.

I do not want to see my professional colleagues harmed.  At the same time, compliance with the APA ethics codes is not optional, it is mandatory – required.  I have required obligations under Standards 1.04 and 1.05 of the APA ethics code, and part of that obligation is to educate the consumer who is subject of the potential ethical violations regarding the APA ethics code and their rights guaranteed under the APA ethics code.

In this case, Standards 2.04, 2.01a, 9.01a, 3.04, and 2.03.

I am fulfilling my required professional obligations with these parents pursuant to Standards 1.04 and 1.05 of the APA ethics code.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

2020 – Goals for the New Year

My five goals for 2020:

1.  Diagnosis

We need to start getting an accurate diagnosis for this pathology so we can develop an effective treatment plan. The DSM-5 diagnosis is V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, and the ICD-10 diagnosis is F24 Shared Psychotic Disorder.

2.  Resources

We need to develop local-area mental health resources for parents to efficiently assess, accurately diagnose, and effectively treat attachment-related pathology and complex trauma pathology surrounding divorce.

I will be initiating my training period from 2020-2022, offering a three-day training seminar in Southern California twice a year, spring and fall, for mental health professionals in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of court-involved family conflict.

My longer-term goal is for this next generation of professionals to then carry knowledge and conduct training in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of court-involved family conflict pathology surrounding divorce.  I train – you train is the fastest way to spread professional standards of practice.

These parents and children are immensely vulnerable because of their court-involved position.  These parents and children warrant the highest standards in the application of knowledge and professional standards of practice, not the lowest.

The court has an awesome and profoundly serious responsibility surrounding the family.  The decisions of the court regarding this family matter will have immense consequences for the lives of the child and the parents.  Professional responsibilities to the court in its decision-making warrant the highest standards in the application of knowledge and professional practice, not the lowest.

That is the standard I will be training to, twice a year in Southern California. 

My first training for mental health professionals will be extra-special, because I’ll be joined by Dorcy Pruter for a four-day collaborative training.  The mental health professionals who train with both of us will leave as the best trained professionals on the planet in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of complex court-involved family conflict.

We’re getting rid of “experts” and are instead establishing boundaries of competence for all mental health professionals working with court-involved family conflict pathology.  The standard of practice for professional competence is to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then read journals to stay current.

In 2020, we will begin training to that standard.

3.  Research – CCPI

I would very much like to enlist some university-based research over here.

It is sorely needed.

There is zero actual-real research over here, and nearly everything is opinion pieces.  The only “research” are a few soft retrospective self-report studies with problematic operational definitions of constructs.

We need to get some actual scientifically grounded research over here.  My goal for 2020 and beyond is to get university-based researchers involved in collaborative pilot program research with the family courts for solutions.

In addition, I would like to get university-based researchers hooked up to Dorcy Pruter (through a Memorandum of Understanding; MOU) regarding trauma recovery and family pathology surrounding divorce.

She’s not a psychologist.  She’s not in a university doing research.  She’s a businesswoman, she’s a professional life and family coach, and she is out here actively recovering children from complex trauma and child abuse.  She’s not the one at the university doing research, that’s all of you.

I’ve worked with top-tier researchers at UCLA (Keith Nuechterlein, Ph.D.; schizophrenia) and UCI (Jim Swanson, Ph.D.; ADHD).  Those are both top of their respective fields.  I absolutely know what top-tier NIMH research looks like.  The research coming from a collaboration with Dorcy Pruter and the Conscious Co-Parenting Institute will be of that caliber.

She is not the principle investigator, that’s you.  She is a consultant collaborator through an MOU.  You’re the researcher, she’s the consultant in recovery from complex trauma.

On a scale of 1-to-100, I’d put Keith Nuechterlein and Jim Swanson at 98, I’d put Amy Baker’s research at about 10 and Jennifer Harman’s at about 5, retrospective self-reports on samples of convenience are just about worthless as research.  When I think research, I think the MTA multi-site research on ADHD or Sroufe’s longitudinal research on attachment, or Nuechterlein’s research on schizophrenia.

My professional estimate of the research potential from a major university collaboration with Dorcy Pruter and CCPI is that it would yield research product in the 90-95 range.  Superior and substantial.

Whoever develops a research collaboration with Dorcy Pruter and CCPI will be an incredibly happy researcher.  My professional estimate from my background with other research at UCLA and UCI is there will be at least 10 years of very productive trauma and attachment research from that collaboration, as well as substantial research on solutions for court-involved family conflict.

You’re the researcher.  That’s you.  She is a trauma recovery consultant on an MOU agreement.

Dorcy’s a businesswoman, a life and family coach, and a child of alienation herself.  She has a recovery workshop for complex trauma and child abuse that can fully recover the child’s healthy and normal-range development gently and in a matter of days. And she has more.

Her workshop approach has application across a range of trauma-involved pathologies, from substance abuse recovery to prison recidivism.  And she has more.

I’m hoping 2020 sees the emergence of research opportunities from university collaborations, both through university-led evaluation research of pilot program solutions for the family courts, as well as through separate MOU collaborations with Dorcy Pruter and CCPI across multiple levels.

4.  Vitae & Standards of Practice

The exploitation of these parents stops. The destruction of their lives, and the lives of their children, stops.

I’ll be bringing personal-professional “peer-review” and standards of practice to court-involved clinical psychology.  I am an old-school conservative clinical psychologist.  If you’ve ever seen the John Houseman character in Paper Chase…  My manner is gentler, but no less direct and clear.

I will begin this focus on improving standards of professional practice by focusing on vitaes.  To do this, I become the first review.  It is incumbent upon me to establish my professional foundations and qualifications to review the vitaes and professional practices of others.  I have. 

My vitae is available online for review: Dr. Chldress Vitae

I have a YouTube Series regarding my vitae: Dr. Childress: YouTube Vitae Series

I have background professional education, training, and experience, evident on my vitae, in the following domains:

  • Attachment pathology
  • Trauma and child abuse
  • Family systems therapy (all schools and theorists)
  • ADHD and school behavior problems
  • Oppositional-defiant and conduct disorder
  • Juvenile justice pathology
  • Autism-spectrum pathology
  • Pediatric psychology (including Munchausen by proxy; DSM-5 Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another).
  • Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders
  • Early childhood mental health and the neuro-development of the brain in childhood.

I consider the standard for professional competence is knowing everything there is to know about the pathology, and then reading journals to stay current.  That has been the accepted standard of practice everywhere I have ever worked.  I am asserting that personal standard for professional competence with the above pathology domains.

Now I wish to peer review my professional colleagues.

If you challenge my authority fine, lets hear your challenge.  Otherwise…

The financial rape and exploitation of these parents stops. The destruction of their lives and the lives of their children… stops.

I have prepared two evaluation instruments to assist in my analysis of professional reports:

This is consistent with my role as a clinical psychology consultant to parents and their attorneys.  I am currently and will be providing a review of mental health reports using these two instruments for the Custody Resolution Method.

This “Psychology Tagging” of mental health reports and vitaes is a stand-alone service offered through the Custody Resolution Method (Dorcy Pruter; CCPI), as well as an included service in their larger data-tagging of data sets offered through the Custody Resolution Method (CRM).

If parents or their attorneys believe it would be helpful to have the mental health reports in their matter reviewed directly by Dr. Childress using the Checklist of Applied Knoweledge and Vitae Documentation Form, contact the Conscious Co-Parenting Institute and ask about their “Psychology Tagging” of mental health reports.

5.  Dublin, 2020

I will be presenting in Dublin, Ireland April 18-19 at the Alex Hotel.  I will be joined by Dorcy Pruter.  On Saturday, I will discuss foundations, assessment, and diagnosis.  On Sunday, Dorcy Pruter and Dr. Childress discuss solutions.

I anticipate this is the last initiative I will take in Europe, and I will more directly focus my attentions on the United States and Canada.  I believe the emerging forces for change in the Netherlands are on a positive path of consideration, I would like to open up Spanish language translations and collaborations.

Our seminars in Dublin in April will bring excellence in professional knowledge and standards of practice to the British isles.  England is the home of John Bowlby and attachment. That they should be self-inflicting attachment pathology on their families is entirely unnecessary and deeply unfortunate.

I am hoping that Cafcass will take the opportunity afforded by Dr. Childress and Dorcy Pruter traveling to Dublin to attend and engage the dialogue on the application of knowledge and solutions.

We present on Saturday and Sunday.  During the week, the Gardnerian PAS “experts” have a full conference offering their perspectives.  This represents the perfect opportunity to hear both positions, side-by-side, consider, and make informed decisions on the path forward.

I am recommending the development of three pilot programs for the family courts (AB-PA/High Road is one, develop two more).  Recruit university involvement for implementation and evaluation research.  Implement the pilot programs, collect data, see what works. Do that.

In April, Dr. Childress & Dorcy Pruter travel to Ireland. Registration is available on my website, scroll down the page.

Dr. Childress & Dorcy Pruter: Dublin, April 18-19

1.  Diagnosis

I’d like to get my second book out and published in 2020, An Attachment-Based Model of Parental Alienation: Diagnosis.  We’ll see what happens.  These are milestones on the path, it’s like giving birth to children. Women, I feel your pain.  That – has to come ouf of – me?  I guess so.  You’ve heard the formulations and echoes in my Alliance posts this past year.

Foundations, Diagnosis, and Treatment.  I’m envisioning three.  We’ll see how much I can get done.

Clinical Psychology:  Assessment leads to diagnosis, and diagnosis guides treatment.  The assessment is always directed to the referral question.  What’s the referral question?  The assessment is designed around the referral question, the assessment answers the referral question.

Referral Question: Which parent is the source of pathogenic parenting creating the child’s attachment pathology, and what are the treatment implications?

That is a limited-scope and focused referral question that can be answered. Which parent is creating the child’s attachment pathology, and how do we fix it?

We need a treatment plan.  Treatment is guided by diagnosis.  You tell me the diagnosis, and I’ll tell you the treatment plan.

A persecutory delusion.  An echo of trauma and abuse from many years ago.  A shared persecutory delusion imposed on the child.  A shared delusion (ICD-10 F24 Shared Psychotic Disorder).

From the American Psychiatric Association:

From the APA: “Usually the primary case in Shared Psychotic Disorder is dominant in the relationship and gradually imposes the delusional system on the more passive and initially healthy second person… Although most commonly seen in relationships of only two people, Shared Psychotic Disorder can occur in larger number of individuals, especially in family situations in which the parent is the primary case and the children, sometimes to varying degrees, adopt the parent’s delusional beliefs.” (p. 333)

A shared persecutory delusion, use the BPRS to anchor the symptom rating. This is not new knowledge, there is no “new theory” – the established knowledge of professional psychology, the ICD-10 and the DSM-5

Pathogenic parenting that is creating a delusional-psychotic pathology in the child is a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse.  Mental health professionals need to step-up to their professional obligations in diagnosis and the assessment of pathology.

The ICD-10 and DSM-5 are not new.  We need a treatment plan.  Treatment depends on diagnosis.  You tell me the diagnosis, and I’ll tell you the treatment.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857